Seasonal delight

Heaven or Hell's kitchen?

Every December it is the same. At this time of year, mountains come to town. Christmas villages are popping up around the city, with their lot of freshly cut Christmas trees, sweet flavours of mulled wine, marzipan and other sugary treats...

Wandering through these stalls activate what
Proust once called it's Madeleine Syndrome. I wrote already about that topic, when the scents of the Christmas trees brought me instantaneously back in the forest of my childhood. But this time, the stimulus was of a different nature. I walked past a stall that was selling earthy food from back home, in particular Tariflette. This dish is simply divine as I wrote about it a few years back. And like Eve and Adam, I could not resist the temptation.

Divine recipe.

Back at my place, I pulled out a couple pans, a bag of potatoes, a few more ingredients... and 25 minutes later , voila! A delight ready to be swallowed... Really worth any spoonful. The potatoes literally melts in your mouth, with double cream elevating the flavours of cured ham and onions, whilst the melted cheese strengthena the whole experience... OK, I know that at this stage, you are already salivating. Like Pavlovian subjects, you are already envying me, so let me fulfill your newly discovered dream, and share with you the recipe of this Alpine delight (as reported by the not-so-alpine Waitrose, yet with my own twist as those weirdoes started to tweak the real thing):

Serves: 4 to 6 (but let's face it, more likely 4 than 6

50g unsalted butter, softened
175g bacon or pancetta, cut into 1cm lardons
1 onion, sliced
1kg waxy potatoes, such as Cara, peeled and sliced to a 3mm thickness
Salt and freshly ground pepper
250g Reblochon cheese, cubed
568ml carton double cream

1.Preheat the oven to 150°C/gas 2. With half the butter, grease a shallow baking dish, about 25 x 30cm.
2.Heat a frying pan over a medium-high heat. Add the bacon. Sauté for about 5 minutes until crisp and brown. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on kitchen paper.
3.Pour off all but 1 tbsp of the bacon fat. Return the pan to the heat and add the sliced onions. Sauté for about 5 minutes. Season.
4.Layer half the potato slices and add salt and pepper (remember the bacon brings already quite some salt). Sprinkle with the bacon and onion. Put the rest of potatoes on top, and add the rest of onions and bacon. Pour enough cream over the top to just cover the potatoes - you may not need it all. Dot with the remaining butter.
5.Bake for about 1¼ hours, or until the potatoes are tender. Slice your cheese in two, lay it on top of your potatoes crust upwards, and return to the oven until brown and bubbling (about 15 minutes). Remove from the oven, cover with foil and leave for 10-15 minutes before serving (if you can resist).

SadlyI have no left-overs from my latest cooking to extend the pleasure beyond reason... But trust me, it was worth it. Enjoy, and take care.

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